Admissions Q & A

Questions from today’s Weekly Wednesday Admissions Chat are included below:

Question: If I am not obtaining a recommendation from my direct supervisor, should I explain in the additional comments section?

Answer: Yes this is a good point to make in the additional comments section at the end of the application. Often times, applicants feel that they may jeopardize their job if they alert their supervisors that they are applying to business school. We understand this, so just let us know in the additional comments section.

Question: It is mentioned in the instructions that applicants have to upload a 1-page resume. However, I have 13.5 years of experience. Can I submit a 2-page resume?

Answer: That is fine if your resume is two pages. On average our students have 4 years of work experience and therefore we advise one page. If you have more experience, then we understand the need for two pages.

Question: I attended a Darden reception in my area but have not visited the campus. Will that disadvantage me in the application process?

Answer: You will not be at a disadvantage if you have not yet been able to visit. For applicants living in the U.S. and who receive an invitation to interview, you will be required to interview on the Darden Grounds. Often times, applicants will wait to see if they are invited and then will visit us. So for Round 2 applicants, at this time, I would counsel you to wait to see if you are invited and then if so, make plans to visit.

Question: I noticed that only 29% of the Fall 2011 entering class is women. Is this proportional to the number of applicants? What is Darden doing to get more women into the MBA program?

Answer: I know at Darden, and believe amongst our peer schools, we would all like to see the number of women in business schools increase. This percentage is reflective of the number of women in business. I do not know what our percentage of women applicants for the entire pool was last year. In terms of what we are doing, Darden is a partner of Forté Foundation, we have a strong and vibrant chapter of National Association of Women MBA’s here and have several mentoring programs established to work with women as they go through the application process.

Question: I just received a call from one of my recommenders, who said that he is ready to submit his recommendation, however he has written a three-page letter and wonders whether that is too much.

Answer: We do not have a word limit on our recommendations, however as you well know we do have a word limit on our essay and short answers. Your recommender can submit what he has written.

Question: What’s your impression of the current Chinese students in Darden? Do you have any suggestions or recommendations for prospective Chinese students?

Answer: I had a current Chinese student drop by my office this morning. I got to know him through our interview and then he wanted to let me know how his winter break was and his fall. Over the break, he returned to China where he helped lead our Shanghai job trek; he also hosted a coffee chat for prospective students. He then came back to the States and participated in a Kaizen trip at a factory in North Carolina which was sponsored by a top hiring company here. He has several internship interviews lined up with a variety of companies. I am so impressed with how he is making the most of the opportunities and working hard to prep for his interviews. My advice is to be open to the experience, to take advantage of the opportunities and to make the most of your time in business school. As an applicant, please share in your application more about your experiences and perspectives so that we can better understand what you will bring to the learning community here. If you’d like to get in touch with students from China (or other international students), visit our International Student Ambassadors page.

Question: Regarding Darden’s alumni network, I understand that with a smaller class size, the total number of Darden alumni is naturally also smaller. I would like to focus on emerging markets in the luxury retail industry, and I cannot find any information about Darden’s presence in this space. I 100% believe that a network is what you make of it, but how does Darden compensate against larger networks from other programs?

Answer: We have over 14,000 alumni worldwide. A large number but as you mention, in comparison to larger programs, it is smaller in number. I would look not at the number but rather the strength of the alumni. This can be seen in how engaged they are with their institutions through alumni giving and participation (you might find this Poets and Quants article interesting). Also the anecdotes students share about how readily accessible our alumni are and how eager they are to help the students. For students who might have a more niche focus, job treks are wonderful ways to visit companies and organizations of interest and to learn more about opportunities. They are student organized and student led and typically take place over the winter break. We had treks that went all over the U.S. and world-wide. This is one example of ways that students pursue opportunities. I would recommend reaching out to the Darden Marketing Club to learn more about what students interested in luxury goods are doing.

To participate in the next Weekly Wednesday Admissions Chat, log into the chat any Wednesday from 12:30-1:00 p.m. (Eastern Time).

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